Milhaven - I.M. Wagner EP [12rec.035]
Milhaven are a postrock-band from Bochum we discovered two years ago. Sven Swift recorded and produced their first album and this brand new EP. The story so far...
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After the release of Bars Closing Down in the early days of 12rec, Milhaven soon became one of our most downloaded artists. In the Winter of 2006, nearly one year ago, we met in their old, dirt-laden rehearsal room and started to record new songs. Hooked by the success of the debut LP, Sven thrashed the old tape-recorder and spend all his money on a 10-channel audio-interface. Milhaven gone digital! We were planning to release the EP in the spring of 2006 until Milhaven got thrown out of the rehearsal room- the ancient school-building we were recording in was said to collapse! Two months went by searching for a new location. When it was found in the blooming hills of a small city at the edge of the Ruhr-area, the sound was completely different to the old room. All set to zero, we re-started the recordings.
In the scorching heat of Summer we banned this four songs on tape. While the debut was recorded wearing woolly hat and scarf, this time the band was lost in sweat and fatigue. I.M. Wagner is less intimate than Bars Closing Down, but there's a trace of frantic power in the new songs that'll be new to you if you've never seen Milhaven live on stage. Check the noise-eruptions in half-improvised Lord Of Birds or the all-consuming end of Oh! Great Pacific. Still, there are expanded moments of gentle guitar-play you can find a lot of beauty in; the initial parts of Clean Room and the final acoustic-track Firnis maybe just the most obvious examples. Milhaven refined their songwriting both at the quiet and the loud parts and managed to record a dignified successor to the highly acclaimed debut LP. Go spread the word!
November 6, 2012
Milhaven - I.M. Wagner EP
May 30, 2008
Very Solid Release
I really enjoyed this EP. Slowly unfurling, pulsing, even plodding (in the best sense of the word) inevitably - constantly pushing forward and grabbing interest. Artfully executed post-rock.
November 21, 2006
âI. M. Wagnerâ is Milhavenâs second release on 12rec. following their outstanding 2005 debut LP âBars Closing Down.â Classic instrumental post-rock is an accurate descriptor of the overall flavor of this four-track album, but these words donât even begin to capture the power, beauty, and intensity of the EP.
The ingredients for this impressive release are simple, but the end result is multifarious: Conventional rock instruments - multiple guitars, bass, drums, along with some occasional field recordings - are the foundation. However, its strength comes from the innovative use of these instruments and the emotional rush that follows.
âOh! Great Pacificâ begins as a timeless piece of traditional slow-rock (bass and percussion) that over the course of ten minutes gradually builds into a crescendo of cinematic bliss as lead and rhythm guitar take on the orchestral-like role of creating a densely textured wall of varying timbres. The track appropriately ends with an onslaught of feedback followed by a field recording of rushing ocean waves of whose sounds the composition is symbolic of.
The simple, gentle melody of a single guitar is the greeter on âLord of Birdsâ backed by bass and percussion. A second guitar joins shortly complementing the first. The piece gradually builds in intensity and complexity as the guitars actually seem to be carrying on a conversation with one another, and the overall atmosphere builds into an emotional charged, almost frantic climax before mellowing once again in final few seconds.
Smoothly flowing tones and gently played solo guitars give the first few minutes of the lengthy âClean Roomâ a laid-back, romantic start. Delicate melodies fade in and out as light percussion is stealthy added providing additional texture. A slowly evolving passion begins to build as the guitar playing becomes denser and more intense and heavy percussion emerges to fill the background. The intensity fades briefly and then suddenly rebuilds as the track reaches an discordant, almost deafening, conclusion.
âFirnisâ brings the album to the a beautiful, nostalgic conclusion. No beats - just dual acoustic guitars playing mellow, harmonizing melodies. Slightly past the half-way point, a misty layer of narration is added along with traces of slightly distorted radio-like noise. The track ends in peculiar way as the instrumentation abruptly ceases and a hazy amalgam of distorted frequencies and sliced-up voices take over.